Everybody has got one part of the body where stubborn fat just won´t seem to budge.
For me it is the lower back or what is affectionately called the “love handles” or “muffin top”. I tell you now there ain´t no love going on when those handles are showing.
Other big problem areas are the legs, butt, stomach and arms.
Now for years we were all made to believe that if you focused on that one area and worked really hard on it the fat would melt away and the muscle would come through.
In fact a whole industry was built around this point with endless gadgets and equipment released to help you work off your belly fat and have a six pack stomach.
I am sure many of us have tried to do this at some point in our live and slowly realised that it doesn´t work.
However recent research is starting to discover that you can actually spot reduce fat in certain areas if you follow the proper approach.
Fat storage in the body is determined by many causes but one of the main factors is too do with hormones.
All these hormones have important functions in the body but if you have excess amounts of them flushing around your system or your body has a problem dealing with them it can lead to fat storage in certain areas.
Therefore if you do have a problem area the following lifestyle recommendations could help you deal with them.
By the way I must mention that this information is what I learned from researching the work done by the Poloquin group with their Biosignature Course whereby they have developed a system of taking skinfold measurements that can tell what hormones are causing you issues and how you can deal with them.
The following are just some general recommendations to give you a basic idea . If you want more exact data I would research and contact a biosignatre modulation specialist in your area.
Are you eating too much?
Before I continue lets address the main issue why people are storing fat and that is they are eating too much and not doing enough activity.
It doesn’t matter what you eat but if you consume too much so that your daily calories exceeds your daily energy expenditure you will gain body.
Where this body fat is stored may be due to hormonal problems but if you are struggling to lose fat or are gaining weight you need to address the energy balance issue first.
If you want to learn more about energy balance then read this article.
In basic terms if you consume too much energy in the form of food than you burn off through activity and your natural metabolic rate you will gain weight.
If you consume less energy than you burn off then you then the body is forced to use fat cells to provide the extra energy it needs to function. This will cause you to lose weight. However if this negative balance becomes to great it may have the counter effect of slowing down fat loss as your metabolism slows down too much but that is topic for another article.
So once you have achieved this but are still struggling to lose fat from certain areas then it may be that your hormones are out of balance.
Problem Area 1 – Upper back and the love Handles
Basically if you struggling to shift fat in the lower and upper back the hormone insulin may be causing you problems.
Over the years insulin has been seen as the enemy when it comes to fat loss being related to the epidemic of type 2 diabetes and sugar dependence that many people have.
When you consume food it is broken down into its different nutrients components and enters the blood stream. When this happens insulin is released and its role is to help move all these different nutrients into the various cells that need them.
Once all the nutrients have been absorbed then insulin levels return to normal.
From this perspective insulin plays a vital role but it is seen as the enemy of fat loss because during this process insulin inhibits the release of energy from fat cells and forces the body to absorb the fatty acids and glucose that are in the bloodstream and turn them into more body fat.
So in simple terms when you have high levels of insulin present your body is in a fat storing state not a fat burning one.
This is why insulin and carbs (which create the biggest insulin response when eaten) are often pilloried for making people fatter.
But the problem is not insulin or carbohydrate it is eating too much in general and poor foods choices.
Yes insulin does create a fat storing environment when released but if you are consuming normal levels of food then your body can handle it and absorb all the nutrients efficiently without creating extra fat stores.
However if you are consuming lots of food especially processed that is high in starches and sugar (because these produce the highest insulin response)without doing burning off enough energy then the body is unable to absorb all of this and the result is more body fat.
Always keep in mind the energy balance – If daily energy intake is less then daily energy burned you will lose weight.
However over time what you may find is that your body has become more insulin resistant in that even though you may be in a negative energy balance your insulin is not working as effectively as it should be and you may still be storing fat or finding it difficult to burn off. This is often seen in the upper,back and lower back “love handles”.
The truth is that some people through genetics do struggle to absorb carbs even eating small amounts so a lower carb diet approach is best to take in this situation.
However, most people just need to improve their insulin sensitivity to remove these stubborn fat areas by following a few basic guidelines.
The first obvious thing to do is cut down highly processed carbohydrate type foods. That means all forms of sugar based products, low quality breads, pasta,cereals etc.
Substitute these types of foods with whole natural foods like those promoted with the Paleo diet.
Supplement your carb intake from all types of vegetables (except root veg ie carrots, corn parsnips) and low GI fruits such as apples, berries and peaches.
Eating more protein can improve insulin sensitivity as do healthy fats so look to increase both levels within your daily macro allowance either with foods or with supplementation.
From an exercise perspective a combination of resistance training and aerobic exercise is great for increasing insulin sensitivity in both men women especially as you get older.
Problem Spot 2 -Good old belly fat
If the majority of your fat storage goes on your belly or you just can´t seem to shift it from there then there is a high possibility you have problems with cortisol.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and is produced by the adrenal cortex in the adrenal gland and has a number of different functions including
Blood sugar (glucose) levels
Fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism to maintain blood glucose (gluconeogenesis)
Heart and blood vessel tone and contraction
Central nervous system activation
One of its main roles is too regulate energy levels by moving energy from fat cells so it actually does help with burning off body fat. However research has shown that too much cortisol result in fat storage. Also it is known as a catabolic hormone in that during high levels of stress it breaks down muscle tissue to provide a quick source of energy.
So as you can imagine if you have constantly high levels of it in your body it can damage your physique and lead to fat storage especially around the abdominal area.
As cortisol is released in response to stress our first priority should be to reduce the level of stress in our lives as much as possible.
This means getting better sleep and taking time out whenever possible.
Include some type or meditation and learning to control our breathing so that we can deal with any stress that should arise.
Eat consistently and drink plenty of water so your body stays balanced.
After your workouts make sure to recover properly by consuming fast digesting carbs and protein
Try to minimize caffeine especially later in the day.
With exercise we want to keep workouts between 30-60 minutes because after an hour cortisol levels are known to rise to assist the body with extra energy.
The good news is that exercise also produces other hormones which offset or counteract the effects of cortisol. Among those is Growth Hormone (GH) which are known to blunt the effects of cortisol while helping you burn fat and build muscle.
The workouts in this program are designed to minimize cortisol release while increasing the levels of other anabolic hormones such as GH and testosterone.
When we train we will produce cortisol and we can´t stop this but what we can do is make sure that we train and recover properly with nutrition to counteract any negative effects that cortisol can cause.
Problem Area 3 -Hips and Legs
For a lot of women who are the classic pear shape they tend to store and hold their fat storage around the hips, thighs and butt.
This is caused due to the female hormone estrogen and a study from Concordia University in Canada proved there was a link between levels of Estrogen and fat storage in the lower areas of the body such as the legs, hips and butt.
Now again a negative calorie deficit through diet and exercise should be able to remove body fat from this area however excess levels of estrogen in the body either through genetics or lifestyle may result in this area being a stubborn fat spot and is often for many women the last place they will lose fat.
There is not much we can do to stop estrogen but what we can do is limit the effect it has on fat storage through exercise and increasing the levels of hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone.
With regards to diet there is a lot of estrogen present in many food sources so to minimize consuming extra levels of estrogen you should eat organic foods as often as possible.
There is a great article here that shows you 10 more ways to reduce your estrogen load through diet and lifestyle.
Problem Area 4 -Knee and Calf
If you suffer with annoying levels of fat just above the knee and your calves you may be producing low levels of growth hormone.
The good news for you is that the combination of resistance and high intensity aerobic workouts have been proven to increase the production of growth hormone so if you perform these on a regular basis with the right nutrition plan which is also covered in the program. you should see improvements in losing fat in this area.
With regards to lifestyle you want to make sure you get good quality sleep every night as this is when the body produces higher levels of growth hormone.
As I said before these are just general recommendations you can apply and see what happens. For more detailed analysis please find and contact a bio signature practitioner
Please don´t underestimate the impact of hormones on your body. Managing your hormones and creating the right hormonal environment in your body is as important as eating the right foods and doing regular exercise.
Very often the impact of hormones is overlooked and this can lead to frustration when you are doing everything else right and not seeing results.
Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to read this article. If you have a question or query about this topic or anything else please leave a comment below